Over the weekend, I yelled at a book "You can't just mine Nicaragua's harbor!" The book was Company Man by John Rizzo, CIA recipient of the infamous "torture memo"s under Bush and lifelong CIA lawyer. I was reading it for reasons, primarily because I was interested in how someone like him would talk about the various things he's been involved in—at least what he'd say in print. I thought of that moment today as the news cycle remained full of people talking about Russia's interference in the 2016 US elections.
The pithy comeback "dissent is patriotic" is getting a lot of play right now. Its underlying logic is sound enough, those who love their countries should want the country to be a better place. Even the most complacent could name a few things they'd like to see changed. Dissent surely may be patriotic.
But should it be?
In answering a metadata question recently, I was reminded again of how the first system in which we encounter a concept can having lasting effects on how we think about that concept. It's certainly true for metadata and is one of the many reasons why I think it would be a bad idea for metadata teachers to teach "practical" stuff like DSpace, even though I see the appeal.
So. Here are brusque, dissmissive, and prejudicial assessments of how three major systems for digital metadata work will mis-influence your understandings. Take them with as many or few grains of salt as you need.
I took today off work to drive to the Pennsylvania Relief Sale preview event, which happened down in Ephrata. I wanted to go see the quilts, which are being shown before the auction in April. The preview goes through Saturday, so I could've waited, but both the Sale itself and today's preview include a quilter's area, where they sell resources (fabric, orphan blocks, unfinished projects, books, patterns, buttons, old/worn quilts, supplies) for extremely low prices.
Of course, it's catch-as-catch-can. Some of the materials are stained or torn or worn or otherwise unusable. Ancient thread may not be reliable—I might use it for hand work but not machine. It's a popular event and things go fast. I wanted to get there early. I've posted what I got on Twitter. This post isn't about that. It's more a reflection on my own habits of consumption, how they intersect with creativity, what I'm trying to do, and why I know this isn't world-changing.
It's flooding here.
It's flooding in Ohio and Virginia. On Friday, I swapped pictures of building leaks with friends. We speculated what will happen when departments empty out for the weekend. I haven't checked my email. Perhaps there are updates. Warnings.
As I drive to and from church, I follow the twists of a creek. The water, normally a placid, clear stream, rages a muddy brown and spills under the yards of my unfortunate neighbors who chose low-lying land.
It frightens me. I wonder how we'll deal with climate shifts when we can't even handle normal rains after melting snow.
And yet, I also find it mystical.